Far From The Madding Crowd

DVD Rating: ****

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Read Jeff Robson's film review of Far From The Madding Crowd
Far From The Madding Crowd

This two-disc DVD release from Studiocanal's Vintage Classics collection (also available on Blu-ray) features the fully restored version of the film on the first disc and a pleasing mix of contemporary and vintage extras on the second.

From the archive comes Location: Far From The Madding Crowd, a 1967 10-minute featurette about the making of the film. Featuring a rather breathy narration it revels in the "glow" of Julie Christie. Its gushing praise is all rather charming from the distance of almost 50 years and the footage of Christie wandering the streets of Dorset in period costume as bemused locals look on, is a lot of fun. There's also some footage of the crew in action, giving a sense of what it must have like to have been on the set - something we don't always get to see in conjuction with older films like this.

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Moving forward to today, there are interviews with Terence Stamp (Troy), writer Frederic Raphael and cinematographer Nicolas Roeg. The chats with Stamp and Raphael are the most open and entertaining. In a 13-minute segment, Stamp talks about director John Schlesinger's animosity towards him, which seems to have extended to insisting that Stamp fight with his right hand despite being "a real lefty". It's interesting to hear Stamp outline how crucial Roeg was to the film and, in particular, how he spiced up the key 'sword practice' scene.

It's a shame that the interviewer who speaks to Roeg doesn't ask him about this. In fact, the three-minute chat with Roeg is rather disappointing in terms of depth, especially as he oversaw this fine restoration.

Much better is 20 minutes spent in the company of writer Raphael, whose wide-ranging chat isn't just confined to the making of this film. He talks about everything from the differences between writing for film and television to the fact that Christie "bit her nails and had shorter legs than I imagined", and even finds time to offer a few writing tips - "Never tell them how long it takes you to write a script".

The final signifcant extra is a short film from Devizes Television, which sees local presenter Bill Huntly visit some of the locations in the film. It has the feel of an enthusiastic amateur production but is no less informative for that.

The only shame is that they didn't manage to persuade Christie herself to reflect on the film, although given that all the other interviewees talk about her 'reluctant stardom', perhaps that's the reason. All in all, an insightful and wide-ranging set of extras, completed by a black and white stills gallery.

Reviewed on: 01 Jun 2015
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Far From The Madding Crowd packshot
In 19th century Wessex, a young woman inherits a farm and attracts the attention of three contrasting suitors.

Product Code: OPTD1318

Region: 0

Ratio: 16:9

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1

Extras: Interviews with Terence Stamp, Nicolas Roeg and Frederic Raphael; Location: Far From The Madding Crowd; Devizes Then And Now; Stills gallery

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